With school summer holidays starting at the end of this week, Welsh Water has issued a fresh warning to remind people of the dangers of swimming in reservoirs. This comes after as the company has seen an increase in people risking their lives in recent hot weather.
Welsh Water, a not-for-profit water company that serves more than three million customers, said there were 307 incidents reported across its area, so far this year.
The company has launched its own campaign to highlight the dangers of swimming in reservoirs, One Last Breath, which features the impact on friends and family of a drowning.
The company’s Chief Operating Officer, Peter Perry, said:
“We see a big increase in incidents at our reservoirs during the school holidays. Reservoirs might seem like a great place to cool off, but they are full of hidden dangers. The freezing temperatures, hidden machinery and strong currents will pull even the strongest swimmer under the water.
“We know the weather is particularly warm at the moment and people are tempted to go for a swim – but I cannot emphasise enough that people are not only putting their own lives at risk, but also the lives of people who may try and help if they get into difficulty.”
Every year, large numbers of people – mainly young men aged between 17 and 35 – try to swim in reservoirs across Wales.
Welsh Water’s One Last Breath video campaign starkly depicts two teenagers who drown after going into the water at a reservoir on a hot summer day – and the impact on their friends and family left behind.
The campaign has been developed after working with Maxine Johnson, the mother of Reuben Morgan, who tragically died after getting into difficulty when swimming at Pontsticill Reservoir, near Merthyr Tydfil, in 2006
The Cyfarthfa High School pupil had been camping at the reservoir with friends when he went swimming and got into difficulties.
A friend of Reuben’s, Kyle Thomas from Merthyr Tydfil, said he didn’t realise the dangers of swimming in reservoirs until it was too late.
“We weren’t aware of the dangers, this it will make people aware of the dangers. This could stop families going through what Reuben’s family and friends have been through.”